Prevalence, Knowledge and Perception of Domestic Violence among Women Attending Antenatal Care at Baraudikko Specialist Hospital, Kaduna, Nigeria

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.04.04.Art031

Authors : Patricial Idoko


In early Roman Society, a woman was deemed the property of the husband and was therefore subject to his control.

The Catholic Church’s endorsement of “the Rules of marriage” in the 15th century exhorted the husband to stand as ‘judge of his wife. He was, to beat her with a stick upon her commission of an offense. According to the rules, beating showed a concern for the wife’s soul.

In 18th century France, if it became public that a wife had beaten the husband, he was forced to wear an outlandish costume and ride backwards around the village on a dnkey.

It was not until the 1870s that the first states in the US banned a man’s right to beat his family.

Violence against women, whether pregnant or not occurs commonly around the world especially the developing world. The act cuts across all ages, cultures, ethnicity religion and educational barriers.

Domestic violence refers to any harmful behaviour directed at women or girls because of their sex it is also known as gender based violence.

The violence can take various forms, and could be physical, psychological, (emotional) sexual, economic or a combination or even neglect. It can also be in the form of threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or private life. A new dimension has been added now in the form of acid baths used by men especially to discipline women, girls.

The prevalence of domestic violence against women ranged between 17-37% with considerable regional variation. Domestic violence can broadly be classified into domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, intimate partner violence (IPV), elder mistreatment.

Domestic violence or spousal Abuse in this content is a form of violence against women and when it involves pregnant women, it calls for a closer attention because of the greater danger it entails. Both the world health organization WHO and international federation of obstetricians and gynecologists (FIGO) recognize the scourge of violence against women and starting train the nineties passed various declarations on the elimination of violence against women. The factors which lead to domestic violence are a legion and range from no offence, minor to major offences.

Most countries and various religions from against domestic violence but because the cultures of the people of these countries do not frown at it, the problem has persisted it hence explains the attitude of the women to domestic violence with some even justifying it. Domestic violence may start or escalate with pregnancy.

Domestic violence is not caused by illness, gentiles, or gender, alcohol or other drugs, anger, stress victim’s behaviour or relationship problems, it is a learned behaviour by batterers, and it has enormous impact on pregnant women. It is a recognized public health issue that has serious consequences on physical and mental health. Domestic violence has been associated with psychiatric illnesses, depress, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorderattempted suicide and also important implications for the fetus as low birth weight, miscarriages, a bleeding, prematurity, abruption, or even death of either or both fetus and mother.

There is paucity of data on domestic evidence mainly because of under reporting by the victims, but quite sequent.


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